Duke Redbird, Initiatives

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What began as a short how-it’s-made video on the construction of Collingwood’s Awen Gathering Circle, became a documentary about collaboration along the path to reconciliation.

Tom Strnad, one of the filmmakers on the project said the film became more than a behind-the-scenes look at the design and construction of a structure as soon as he began interviews with those involved. Initially, the town wanted a short video showing how the gathering circle was made. As the filmmakers dove into how it was made, both Strnad and the town began to see the story went deeper than laser-cut steel and cleaning up an old landfill.

The Gathering Circle was created with the direct involvement of indigenous architects, and the idea was inspired by a concept Dr. Duke Redbird came up with – to pair seven Ojibwe grandfather teachings with the seven layers of a food forest.

“Arts leaders frequently put themselves last in line when it comes to professional development,” says Claire Hopkinson, Director & CEO of Toronto Arts Council. “Whereas individual dancers and singers recognize the need for continued professional development, it’s not well embraced at the organizational  level. To be healthy, to be reflective, to grow in confidence, we all need the occasion to pause during our careers and examine our work,” she continues. It’s with this philosophy in mind that TAC in collaboration with Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, created the TAC Leaders Lab program in 2014… read on

Indigenous Education

At the TDSB, the Urban Indigenous Education Centre is pleased to offer a variety of services with the goal of closing the opportunity gap for Indigenous students. This mandate is approached by infusing Indigenous perspectives across the curriculum for all students as well as by providing direct wrap-around supports to enhance the overall achievement of First Nation, Métis and Inuit students throughout the TDSB.

Staff at the Urban Indigenous Education Centre include a Centrally Assigned Principal, a Centrally Assigned Vice Principal, an Itinerant Student Success Teacher, an Itinerant Culture and Traditions Instructor, a Child and Youth Counsellor, a Social Worker, Instructional Leaders and Community Liaison Workers who collectively offer a wide range of services that include:

An art exhibit at the Toronto District School Board museum that opened Thursday has a name that seems fitting in light of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Debwewin, which means Truth, features contemporary First Nations, Metis and Inuit artwork from the TDSB's vast collection which includes work by prominent indigenous artists such as Norval Morriseau.

The inaugural exhibition was curated by Elder Dr. Duke Redbird.

"We're living in a time in Canada where great transitions are taking place and the old style of doing things is evolving," Redbird said in an interview… read on

The TDSB first started acknowledging traditional lands at its meetings in June 2015.

The idea for all schools to do the same was put forward by the board's Aboriginal Community Advisory Committee this past May. It officially started at the beginning of this school year.

Community elder and committee member Duke Redbird was part of the consultation process.

"From a time when I was in school, when I was growing up and denied any access to my own culture, language, traditions and so on," said Redbird, "70 years later, to see it being introduced and little ones so proud of their heritage ... it's full circle." … read on